By Wuraola Ajanlekoko
All registered members of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) now have up till November 30 to complete their re-certification process.
Speaking at a briefing at the weekend in Lagos, the institute’s President, Dr Rotimi Oladele, also hinted that the contentious issue of track-able identity would be discussed in detail at the NIPR Independence Anniversary Lecture, scheduled for tomorrow in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Chris Onyemenam will deliver the lead paper.
Oladele said the institute’s newest members, also billed for induction tomorrow, would be the first set to have the new NIPR certificates with unique individual numbers. Old members who fail to complete the re-certification process by November 30 would have no excuse, he noted, since the deadline was compassionately moved from the initial deadline of October 1.
He explained that the postponement became imperative when state chapters and members in the armed forces made genuine cases for consideration. But all the old members need to do, is to pay up all outstanding dues where applicable and the sum of N20, 000 for a new certificate with individual unique numbers. But those who fail to comply would now have to go through a certification process all over again.
But some members inducted earlier this year criticized the institute’s decision to subject them to a re-certification process. “We were inducted in Lagos recently,” one of them who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the magazine, “and I think it will be wrong to ask us to pay another N20,000 for re-certification, when we were admitted only this year.”
The NIPR scribe also said the need to put a sustainable track-able identity scheme in place in Nigeria informed the decision to hold the lecture, which will now be an annual affair. He observed that there were too many identity platforms undertaken by different government agencies in the country at the moment, and all of which, he argued, are doing the same thing.
Oladele said in a country like the United Kingdom, only a name and date of birth was all the British authorities required to trace any individual at any time. But in a situation where one organization issues a driving licence, another, the national identity card; another, the BVN; another, the International Passport, and yet another, the Voter’s Registration Card, he averred, amounted to unnecessary duplication and a waste of resources. “All these platforms should be synchronized,” he stated.
He underscored the importance of track-able identity, which he said would reduce criminal activities among Nigerians, “since everybody would have it at the back of his mind that he can be traced if he commits any offence.”
Oladele said the reason why many Nigerians don’t break rules in European countries was because such societies have strong mechanisms in place to track individuals. “When you know you will be caught, you are not likely to engage in criminal acts,” he said.
Oladele is also scheduled to deliver a lecture in the United Kingdom (UK) on October 9, at the invitation of the Association of Nigerian Students in the UK.